Finally, after more than two decades, the site for Chennai’s second airport has been finalised at Parandur, 59 km from the existing airport.
On Monday, in response to a question raised by Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu Kanimozhi NVN Somu, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V.K. Singh said the Tamil Nadu government had shortlisted Parandur as the site for the second airport — a greenfield airport — for Chennai.
The State government will now have to submit a proposal to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for ‘grant of site clearance’ for the finalised site.
“After comparing the viability and feasibility, including the presence of habitations and industrial establishments and the land acquisition cost of both the sites, the State government has shortlisted Parandur site as the location for development of the greenfield airport,” the Minister said.
According to the Greenfield Airports Policy, 2008, this process comprises a two stage approval – ‘site clearance’ and ‘in-principle’ approval.
He also noted that the concerned airport developer, including the State government, will have to take the responsibility of implementation and funding.
Talks to establish a second airport for the city resumed early this year, and the State government requested the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to execute a feasibility study for the project. Four sites – Pannur, Parandur, Tiruporur and Padalam – were identified, and the AAI team inspected each site and submitted a report.
Pannur and Parandur were then shortlisted. After studying the various prospects in both locations, the State government held a meeting with the Centre recently to choose the site. Post meeting, Tamil Nadu Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu said the Civil Aviation Ministry had expressed its willingness to go along with what the State government recommended.
The site at Parandur is located in Kancheepuram district, and according to the report prepared by AAI, it is 59 km southwest of the existing Chennai airport. The report also states: “The average distance travelled by a passenger to Parandur airport will be 73 km, and the average time taken will be 1 hour and 54 minutes as against the 21 km and 54 minutes taken to travel to the present Chennai airport.”
The site that they have finalised is over 4,791 acres, and of this, 2,605 acres fall under the wetland category, while the remaining 827 acres is dry land, the report stated. This could be an ideal two runway airport, but if parallel runways were to be built then an additional 200 acres of land would have to be acquired.
The report had looked at options of operational efficiency of using the new and the existing airports.